Clinical significance of the detection of antinuclear antibodies in patients with acute hepatitis A

Yeon Seok Seo, Kwang Gyun Lee, Eun Suk Jung, Hyonggin An, Ji Hoon Kim, Jong Eun Yeon, Kwan Soo Byun, Hyung Joon Yim, Hong Sik Lee, Soon Ho Um, Chang Duck Kim, Ho Sang Ryu

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9 Citations (Scopus)


Background/Aims: The findings of several recent studies suggest that antinuclear antibodies (ANAs) are frequently detected in patients with acute hepatitis A (AHA). However, the clinical significance of a positive ANA test remains uncertain. This study was performed to evaluate the clinical significance of ANAs in AHA patients. Methods: All patients admitted with AHA were consecutively enrolled in this study. An ANA assay was performed by indirect immunofluorescence during hospitalization. ANA positivity was defined as an ANA titer ≥1:80. The peak international normalized ratio (INR), peak alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and peak bilirubin levels were assessed over the duration of the hospitalization, and the incidence of AHA complications was evaluated. Results: A total of 422 patients were enrolled in this study (age, 31±7 years), of which 260 (61.6%) were men. ANAs were detected in 179 AHA patients (42.4%). The proportion of ANA-positive patients varied significantly with AHA status on the day of the ANA assay (4.7% during the prodromal period vs 52.1% during the icteric or recovery period, p<0.001) and sex (56.2% in women vs 33.8% in men, p>0.001). The ANAs became undetectable in all ANA-positive patients within 3 months. The incidence of complications, including mortality, fulminant hepatic failure, renal dysfunction, relapse, and cholestatic hepatitis, did not differ significantly between ANA-positive and ANA-negative patients. Conclusions: ANAs were detected frequently and transiently in patients with AHA, especially after their peak-ALT day. The presence of ANAs may not be associated with the clinical outcome of AHA, but simply with AHA status on the ANA assay day.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)340-347
Number of pages8
JournalGut and liver
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2011 Sept
Externally publishedYes


  • Autoimmune
  • Clinical outcome
  • Complication
  • Hepatitis A

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hepatology
  • Gastroenterology


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